Carol Bruch
Carol Bruch in 1959

Full name

Carol Sophie Bruch

Alternative names

Carol S. Bruch, Carol Bruch Myers, Mrs. Jack Myers

Presence at Shimer


Presence on Earth



Shimer College 1960


University of California Berkeley 1972


Mount Carroll period alum

Carol S. Bruch was a student at Shimer College in the early Great Books period, enrolling as an early entrant in 1957[1] and graduating in 1960.

Shimer connectionsEdit

  • Sister of alum (and head coach of the Shimer Pioneers) Richard Bruch ('68)

Brief descriptionEdit

This brief description is released under the CC0 copyright waiver.

Carol S. Bruch is an authority on family and international law, and is a professor emerita of the law school at the University of California Davis. She received her bachelor's degree from Shimer College in 1960, where she enrolled via the school's early entrance program. She obtained her JD from UC Berkeley in 1972, subsequently clerking for Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas. She is the author of numerous influential legal articles, and is particularly well-known for her writings criticizing the legal application of "parental alienation syndrome". (from Shimer College Wiki)


Photographs of Carol Bruch from Rockford papers:



Note: Part or all of this article is being groomed for possible export to Wikipedia.

Carol Sophie Bruch (b. June 11, 1941)[2][3] is an American legal scholar and professor emerita of the law school at University of California, Davis. A recognized authority on family and international law, she has influenced and worked on the drafting of family law statutes in California and other US states, and also international agreements.[4] She holds a JD from UC Berkeley School of Law and an AB from Shimer College.[4]

Early life and educationEdit

Carol Bruch in 1958

Carol Bruch as a first-year Shimer College student in 1958.

Bruch was born into a highly-educated family in Winnebago, Illinois, the second of four children.[3] Her mother, Dr. Ida Margarete Willstätter Bruch (1906-1964), was a chemical physicist and the daugher of Nobel laureate Richard Willstätter.[5][6] Her father, Dr. Ernest Bruch (1905-1974), was the head of nuclear medicine at Rockford's St. Francis Hospital,[7] where her mother also worked after 1953.[3] Both parents had emigrated from Germany to Illinois in the 1930s due to Germany's increasingly restrictive laws on Jewish employment.[3]

In 1957, at age 15,[5] Bruch enrolled at Shimer College through the school's early entrance program. The program, established in 1950 under Ford Foundation support and still operating today, allows students to enter college after completing one or more years of high school.[8] Excelling in her studies, Bruch was a member of the college honor society.[9] Her fellow honor students at Shimer, which then enrolled approximately 200 students,[10] included future international relations scholars Alan Dowty and Robert Keohane.[9]

As part of the experimental Great Books curriculum it shared with the University of Chicago, Shimer made extensive use of placement tests.[11] Through these tests, Bruch acquired a total of 24 credits toward graduation before taking a class,[5] and was therefore able to graduate after only three years.

Bruch received her A.B. degree on June 5, 1960,[12] at age 18; six days after graduating, Bruch married her boyfriend Jack Myers.[13] They had two children together.[5] Bruch taught elementary school for a time in Madagascar, when her husband was working there.[5]

After her youngest child started school, Bruch enrolled at UC Berkeley School of Law, where she received her JD in 1972.[4] [5] She was editor-in-chief of the Southern California Law Review and an editor of the California Law Review, and also authored an article on the conflict of laws, which has remained an area of focus throughout her career.[5] After graduation, she clerked for Justice William O. Douglas on the United States Supreme Court. She was only the fourth woman to hold a Supreme Court clerkship.[5]

Shortly after receiving her JD, in June 1972, Bruch and her husband divorced.[14] She has credited the experiences of both married and single parenthood with informing her life's work in family law.[4]

Legal and academic careerEdit

Bruch joined the faculty of the UC Davis School of Law, where she would remain throughout her career, in 1973.[15][16] In 1975, Bruch prepared a casebook for the study of family law entitled Cases and Materials on Children and the Law, which she revised in 1976.[4] Starting in 1976, she also began to work on drafting new legislation on family law issues for the state of California.[17]

Bruch has authored influential amicus briefs in two key California Supreme Court family law cases.[17] The first of these was Marvin v. Marvin, which laid the groundwork for modern California palimony law; an expanded version of this has been frequently reprinted. The second was In re Marriage of Burgess, a 1996 case that established key precedents on custody in cases of parental relocation. The court cited and adopted elements of her reasoning in both cases.[17]

Not limiting her academic work to the field of law, from 1995 to 2001, Bruch chaired an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in human development at UC Davis.[4][18] Bruch was given the position of "Research Professor of Law" in 2001, which she continues to hold as of 2012.[4] She was named Distinguished Professor Emerita in 2005.[4]

Parental alienation syndromeEdit

Bruch is most widely known for her 2001 paper challenging the use of Richard Gardner's parental alienation syndrome (PAS) theory in child custody cases. She published an expanded version of this in 2002.[19] Taking what has often been characterized as a feminist or child advocate position, Bruch argued that PAS theory was used disproportionately to the disadvantage of mothers and children in child custody cases, and that in practice it was geared to discredit accusations of sexual abuse:[20]

Although Dr Gardner sometimes states that his analysis does not apply to cases of actual abuse, the focus of his attention is directed at discerning whether the beloved parent and child are lying, not whether the target parent is untruthful or has behaved in a way that might explain the child’s aversion.[21]

She also criticized Gardner's excessive reliance on his own non-peer-reviewed findings.[22] A rejoinder by Gardner was published on his website in both English and German.[23] Bruch responded in turn with rebuttals in both English and German.[23]

Bruch's writings, and those of other critics of PAS, have received considerable pushback from defenders of PAS, with claims including that Bruch and other critics misunderstood the theory itself,[24] misrepresented the theory's practical application,[20] failed to account for the full range of research findings,[25] or unfairly disparaged Gardner himself.[26] The doubts cast on PAS by Bruch's work and others have however proven influential, with the theory receiving an increasingly skeptical treatment by the courts and being rejected for inclusion in the DSM-V.[27] A 2009 survey of practitioners found that few considered PAS to be admissible as evidence.[28] PAS remains the subject of lively legal and scholarly dispute, with Bruch's paper still frequently cited.[29]

Honors and public serviceEdit

In 1989, Bruch served as a member of the American delegation to Montevideo to help draft the Inter-American Conventions.[17] In the same year, she joined the Advisory Committee on Private International Law of the US Secretary of State as the representative of the Association of American Law Schools,[17] continuing to serve in that capacity until 2008.[4] In recognition of this and other public service, she was granted the first "Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award" of the UC Davis Academic Senate in 1990.[30]

Bruch was granted an honorary doctorate by the University of Basel in 2000.[31][16]

Works citedEdit


  1. Shimer College, "Early Entrants", 1964, in the Shimer College Collection.
  2. "Births At Hospitals". Rockford Morning Star: p. 11. 1941-06-12. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Rürup 2008, p. 366.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 "Carol S. Bruch". UC Davis School of Law. Retrieved 2012-12-06. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 Jan Erkert (1971-12-23). "High court justice names area woman". Rockford Register-Republic: p. A3. 
  6. Rürup 2008, p. 365.
  7. "Nuclear medicine pioneer dies". Rockford Register-Star. 1974-07-23. 
  8. "Early Entrance Program". Shimer College. Retrieved 2012-12-07. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 "June Convocation". Shimer College Record 50 (3): p. 6. 1958-10. Retrieved 2012-12-07. 
  10. Moorhead, Patrick H. (1983). Shimer College Presidency 1930 to 1980 (Ed.D. thesis). Loyola University of Chicago. p. 135. OCLC 9789513. 
  11. Peter Cooley (1990). "The Failure of a Shimer Education". In My Beginning Is My End: Commencement Speeches at Shimer College. p. 46. 
  12. Consolidated News Service (1960-06-09). "Students Graduated". Rockford Register-Republic. 
  13. "Carol Bruch Wed To Jack Myers". Rockford Register-Republic. 1960-06-22. 
  14. California Divorce Index, 1966-1984 [electronic version via]. - California Department of Health Services Office of Health Information and Research. - Vital Statistics Section.
  15. Herma Hill Kay (2003-01). "Brigitte M. Bodenheimer Memorial Lecture On The Family: UC's Women Law Faculty". UC Davis Law Review 36: 331ff.. 
  16. 16.0 16.1 Suzanne Rockwell (2000-08-04). "Carol Bruch". UC Davis. Retrieved 2012-12-08. 
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 UC Davis Academic Senate. "Past Award Recipients - Bruch". Retrieved 2012-12-07. 
  19. Bruch 2002.
  20. 20.0 20.1 Lorandos 2006, p. 400.
  21. Bruch 2002, p. 382.
  22. Houchin 2012, p. 128.
  23. 23.0 23.1 "Articles by Professor Carol S. Bruch". The Liz Library. Retrieved 2012-12-08. 
  24. Warshak 2006, p. 367.
  25. Lorandos 2006, p. 405.
  26. Rand 2011, p. 57.
  27. Kevin Crary (2012-09-21). "Parental Alienation Not A Mental Disorder, American Psychiatric Association Says". Huffington Post (Associated Press). 
  28. Bow 2009, p. 135.
  29. Houchin 2012.
  30. UC Davis Academic Senate. "Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award Past Recipients". Retrieved 2012-12-07. 
  31. "Jahresbericht 2000". University of Basel. 2000. Retrieved 2012-12-07. 

The above article is a biography of a living Shimerian, and is therefore governed by the Wikia and Shimer College Wiki policies on biographies of living people. All information should be verifiable from public sources. The article must not be defamatory or invasive of privacy. Please feel free to improve this page.

This page is part of the Shimer College Wiki, an independent documentation project. Shimer College, the Great Books college of Chicago, is not responsible for its content.

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